Martha Driskill Humphreys '61
In March 1957 I transferred from the eighth grade at Bryn Mawr School in Baltimore, MD, into Brearley’s Class of 1961. Aside from the excellent academics, athletics—including team competition—and exposure to the culture only in NYC, Brearley’s major benefit to the girl who graduates is empowerment, a modern word with over a century of meaning at 610 East 83rd.
We were endowed with the confidence that comes from knowledge, as well as the responsibilities of self-government. We held positions of responsibility leading to our belief in our own capabilities to do or be anything we were willing to work hard enough to accomplish.
As planned for women in my generation, I received my MRS degree one week after my BA from George Washington University in 1965. Marriage to a naval aviator meant that we moved so often my attempts at pursuing a career as opposed to a series of jobs were unsuccessful. However, those early years taught me that I was more effective working independently than trying to fit into any management structure—perhaps another legacy from Brearley.
Freelance writing for newspapers, magazines and print marketing allowed me to stay at home for the early years of raising three children. After my husband’s duty transfer to Southern California, Hollywood beckoned with larger per word payments and a much larger audience in the media. Brearley’s influence in lifelong learning started my film writing/producing career from the contacts I made taking night classes in the business. As I was the only woman who wrote animation for television, my agent submitted my sample script using Marty, not Martha. I joined the Writers Guild union, and when we would go on strike, often husband and children joined me on the picket lines.
My education continued as I chaperoned every field trip each child took during his or her school years. Writer/producers had the luxury of working around family schedules.
Our class produced many successful Brearley women in all areas of our society. Whether we responded to the imperative or the challenge of the feminist movement, or simply wanted to realize a personal mission, the Brearley woman has fulfilled the potential of the Brearley girl in large part thanks to the benefits of our alma mater.
And yes! I had it all! Just not all at the same time.